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Mobile Website Design
Mobile Website Design
Over the past few years there has been a exponential increase in the number of smart phones and tablet devices, which has, in turn, created more demand for ‘mobile friendly websites’ as well as ‘dedicated mobile websites’. Users now expect to be able to access content via each and every device they have, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Smart phone or traditional computer. This means that potential clients, browsing online for your services, could be using any number of devices, and therefore, if your website is not at least mobile friendly, then you may be losing out on potential business.
What do we mean by mobile friendly?
People are often confused by this terminology; mobile friendly does not mean that a website is a mobile website, it simply means that the website works properly and is easy to use across different devices and browsers. A good example of ‘non mobile friendly’ content, is the use of ‘flash’ within a website, which cannot be viewed on iPhones or iPads. Whilst other mobile devices do support this, it is better to ensure you are not excluding different users from accessing and using your site. All websites developed by kithappens are mobile friendly as standard.
So what is a mobile website?
A mobile website is a completely separate site from your main website. This means that when a user accesses your website using a mobile device, they are automatically directed to the mobile version. A mobile website is usually designed specifically to be viewed on smaller screens, with simplified navigation systems and less dynamic functionality, to ensure usability and ease of access to relevant content. Typically mobile websites include the option for a visitor to ‘view full website’ should they wish to.
What about responsive design?
‘Responsive design’ is becoming increasingly popular, especially due to the variety of smart phone and tablet screen sizes available today. Essentially a website that is coded to be ‘responsive’ will automatically re-size and re-organise the content on the page for optimum viewing, depending on the screen size of the device being used. Responsive design is usually best completed at the same time as building your main site, since, if it’s done after the event, the cost would typically be higher due to having to re-code elements of your existing site; although this is possible. As with many technologies there are budget solutions that claim to be able to automatically convert your site to be responsive. However, every site is different and we would always recommend that a professional developer codes your responsive website to ensure it displays properly across the various devices.
Which option is best for my business?
As with any marketing activity it’s important to ensure that your money is wisely spent and likely to deliver a return on investment.
In any business, certain activities or investments will take higher priority. Therefore, a key question is, does your business need a mobile website at this point in time?
An easy way to answer this is to look at your traffic statistics using a free tool such as google analytics. This will reveal how many of your website visitors are accessing your site using a mobile device, tablet and traditional desktop/laptop.
If the number of mobile or tablet users are significantly lower than those using normal computers to access your website, then it may be that a mobile website is a ‘nice to have’ rather than a critical business tool.
This will vary dramatically across different industries, but clearly we would expect to see more mobile users on sites aimed at consumers compared with sites offering business to business services.
At the very least though, we feel a mobile friendly website is a good idea, because even if mobile users are relatively low on your site, at least they can still access your content properly.
As to whether you opt for a responsive website or a dedicated mobile website, this will depend on a number of factors. For example, if you already have a website and don’t wish to re-develop it, then a separate mobile website may be more appropriate.
It is worth noting that Google actually recommends the ‘responsive design’ method as noted in the following quote taken from Google’s Webmaster site: ‘We recommend using responsive web design because it has many good aspects:
- Using a single URL for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content, and a single URL for the content helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content.
- No redirection is needed for users to get to the device-optimized view, which reduces loading time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience.
- It saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents need to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.’
Should you have any questions about Mobile Website Design, speak to the team today to find out how you can achieve more online.